There are many things people may immediately associate with Joan Jett: the term 80’s icon, female empowerment, “I Love Rock N Roll,” and maybe even that movie starring Kristin Stewart…but the fact that she’s a vegetarian? Only the cattle ranchers of South Dakota seem to be intensely focused on that detail.
Jett, who was scheduled to perform on a parade float representing South Dakota in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, has been removed from the float because ranchers protested, complaining she’s a vegetarian and a critic of their livestock production.
Jodie Anderson of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association told an affiliate of CNN, “So, of course, when we learned that about Miss Jett, we were rightly concerned about her representing South Dakota and a state that is so heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock production to drive our economy.”
Talk about creating a PR problem where there probably wasn’t one.
It’s unlikely too many people, upon seeing Jett on the float, would have made the connection that a PETA supporter was representing a state deeply dependent on the cattle industry — but now, thanks to the ranchers’ opposition, everyone has made that connection. And PETA is loving it.
“Thanks to South Dakota’s reactionary ranchers, people across the country have learned why Joan Jett supports PETA. The meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty,” PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews said in a statement.
Jett, meanwhile, has remained undeterred from celebrating the Thanksgiving spirit: “I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event,” Jett said in a statement Saturday. “I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”
So, it seems Jett can have her Tofurkey and eat it too; while the ranchers of South Dakota come out looking a wee bit too defensive, Jett will get to perform during the parade and have the satisfaction of knowing a cause close to her heart is getting a great deal of attention. Yet another example of how, in the world of PR, an over-zealous preemptive defense is not always the best offense.